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DGFT organizes National Conference on Strategic Trade Controls

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NEW DELHI : Directorate General of Foreign Trade(DGFT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and other Government Agencies organized the National Conference on Strategic Trade Controls (NCSTC), focusing on India’s Strategic Trade Control [related to Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET) and Export Controls] system and its International Best Practices, for ensuring compliance related to the export of dual-use (industrial and military) goods, software and technologies.

Unlike past such conferences, this time, the NCSTC was organized by DGFT in a new format, with larger international participation, and wider involvement of various Government of India organizations, Industry stakeholders across the relevant sectors, Academia & Research Institutions. The conference was held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

As part of India’s Strategic Trade Control system and in consonance with the relevant control lists, guidelines and provisions of the international conventions, mechanisms and regimes, India regulates the exports of dual use items, nuclear related items, and military items, including software and technology under the SCOMET list, which is notified by DGFT under the Foreign Trade Policy.

The Conference, which was attended by more than 500 participants from the Government, Industry and foreign delegations, witnessed the engagement of our Industry on Strategic Trade Control issues with key Government and Industry speakers as well as International experts in the field of Strategic Trade Controls.

The Conference focused on underscoring the importance of effective strategic trade controls, showcasing India’s legal and regulatory system in this context, and exchanging best practices and relevant information on strategic trade controls, towards preventing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems. Further, it facilitated dialogue between Government authorities and Industry stakeholders, assessing and mitigating emerging risks associated with the export of sensitive goods and technologies, fostering international collaboration, gathering feedback from the Industry, etc.

In his remarks at the opening session, Shri Sunil Barthwal, Commerce Secretary highlighted Government of India’s efforts in streamlining the Strategic Trade Control system while also emphasizing India’s non-proliferation credentials and its commitment to the international obligations.

During the keynote address of NCSTC by Ambassador José Javier De La Gasca, Chair 1540 Committee, United Nations Security Council, he highlighted the importance of UNSCR 1540 (2004) in the global architecture of non-proliferation, its significant developments and activities towards long-term goal of global implementation of the resolution: and how this conference is in line with the objectives of the resolution.

In the keynote address of NCSTC by Ambassador Flávio Soares Damico, Chair, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), he underscored the importance of MTCR in the international framework of missile and delivery systems related non-proliferation, significant developments of MTCR including India’s membership in 2016, India’s importance considering its established credentials on strategic trade controls and non-proliferation matters, and impact of outreach to industry particularly India’s rapidly growing aerospace sector.

During the thematic sessions of the Conference, the Government officials provided detailed presentations and highlighted various aspects of India’s Strategic Trade Control system, including the legal and regulatory framework, the steps taken to streamline the SCOMET policy and licensing processes, the enforcement mechanism and supply chain compliance programs related to the export of dual-use goods and technologies. A panel discussion focusing on Industry Experience and Compliance witnessed sharing of experiences by the key Industry leaders across various sectors dealing in export of dual-use goods and technologies.

The Conference also focused on specific sessions related to Internal Compliance in the context of Intangible Technology Transfers (ITT) by Indian industry, Japanese experience with Outreach to and Compliance by Academia, and the impact of Emerging Technologies on Strategic Trade Controls.

A Handbook on India’s Strategic Trade Controls prepared by DGFT was also released during the Conference. The Handbook outlines various aspects related to India’s SCOMET Policy, details of the SCOMET application process, documentary requirements, FAQs on the different types of SCOMET Authorisations, the process for obtaining the SCOMET Authorisation for all categories under SCOMET and the priorities going forward. The handbook provides clarity to the Industry and other stakeholders regarding the relevant laws and regulations of the Government of India.

The inaugural session of the Conference was also addressed by Shri. Santosh Sarangi, DG, DGFT; Shri. Surjit Bhujabal, Member (Customs), CBIC; Smt. Muanpuii Saiawi, Joint Secretary (D&ISA), Ministry of External Affairs; and Shri Narayan Sethuramon, Co-Chairman, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), National Committee on EXIM, among others.

The Foreign Trade Policy 2023 recognized the critical role of India’s Strategic Trade Control system and streamlined the policy and procedures related to SCOMET at one place for ease of understanding and compliance by the Industry. The SCOMET policy emphasizes India’s Strategic Trade Controls in line with its commitments under multilateral non-proliferation export control regimes and other international conventions. The focus is on streamlining policies to facilitate export of dual-use, high-end goods and technologies while ensuring the regulatory compliances and our security considerations.

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